Despite the low light, the 1.78:1 picture on this terrific Blu-ray transfer is so detailed that you can see textures of costumes, with every strand of Lyndon’s corduroy coat visible, along with the intricacies of all those lace flounces. Big exteriors have a wonderfully deep focus, made more noticeable by often being filled with strolling figures. Skin tones are natural, and although some images have an airy milkiness to them, others feature solid, rich blocks of color, such as the crimson and blue uniforms and flags. Black eyepatches are inky; white vests are admirably bright.
In the crisp, open DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack, the magnificent score — Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Vivaldi, and, most memorably, Handel’s Sarabande — is monumental in its fullness and clarity. At times, it comes from all sides (along with occasional atmospherics), but mostly it’s split across the three front channels. Yet the music surges splendidly, with instruments well separated. Dialogue is extremely clear, cannon fire nicely bassy.
Similar to the video releases of Woody Allen films, extras are minimal: You only get a trailer. Some viewers, I hazard to guess, might suggest that perhaps a few details on the production, a little analysis of Kubrick’s art, the odd interview, or, well, anything would be appropriate. But for me, this would sully the magnificent solitude of that fine and dandy coming-attraction advertisement and distract from all those occasions when I’ll be watching Barry Lyndon in the future while waiting for the multidisc Special Edition that will no doubt be snatching at my wallet before the Blu-ray format has run its course.
(Editor’s Note: Barry Lyndon is available separately as an Amazon.com exclusive, but the disc is also included in the Blu-ray boxed set Stanley Kubrick: Limited Edition Collection, a wide release.)
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